Follows Luck of the Irish
But there is
Another kind of evil that
we must fear the most, and that is the
Indifference of good men
CHAPTER ONE: Somebody's Got to Do It
Joe Gubliani walked out to his awaiting Mercedes. The stocky Italian had a huge smile on his face and a slightly dizzy head, the result of his two thousand dollar bottle of wine. His muscles were a little stiff, but the evening with the southern belle had been quite pleasing. He looked around at the starry sky and laughed. Things couldn't have gone any better. Soon Robert Maki, Colorado's beloved governor, would be dead. On that day, Gubliani would be in Denver welcoming in his new shipment of Opium from Afghanistan.
Maki had always suffered from poor health, so nobody would find it suspicious when he began to fall ill from strange illnesses. The crime boss was not sure how quickly the politician would die, but he had no doubt that it would happen soon. It wasn't possible for him to realize that he had drunk a full dose of pure dioxin with his coffee this morning. Maybe the doctors would realize something was up, but by then it would be too late. Gubliani congratulated himself on the ingenuity of his plan. He had heard about the toxic organic compound when it was suspected of poisoning the Ukrainian politician, Viktor Yushchenko in 2004. He reached out to open the car door and got into the driver's seat. Did he feel any qualms about murdering the politician? Regret never crossed his mind. He had killed for less before. Anyone that got in way was quickly taken care of. That's just the way the things worked. Once Maki died, the governor would never cross his mind again.
Just as he was about to get into the car, he felt a sudden sting in his stomach. He saw white light as he doubled over in pain. His knees slowly crumpled beneath him. He collapsed on the ground as another kick connected with this stomach. The concrete felt cold against his face.
"Get up!" a voice growled.
Gubliani reached for his gun, but his assailant was too fast.
"Nice try, now get up before I shoot you right now!" the voice demanded again.
"Won't work," he gasped. "My men..."
"That's empty threat you bastard," another voice told him. "We checked."
"I will kill...Offf!"
This time he felt some of his ribs crack.
"Get up!" the voice demanded again.
Gubliani decided it was best to listen to these men. He tried to pull himself to his feet, but the wine was beginning to have its effect. The dark ally started to spin as he tried to pull himself to his feet. He thought that he might fall over again, but a hand grabbed a hold of him.
"Would you believe that? He's drunk on top of it all."
Gubliani was able to turn his head and see his assailants for the first time. One of them was tall and muscular. The man next to him was much shorter and slimmer, but they both looked equally intimidating, dressed all in black. He looked at the hand grasping his shoulder and gasped.
"Well look at that JD, he knows us. This should make our job a whole lot easier. Get in the damn car."
Gubliani had no choice, but to listen. Wincing in pain he got into the front seat. The two men jumped in behind him. The man closed his eyes and began to shake in terror as he felt the barrel of the revolver on his temple. The reality of who these men were and what they could do was beginning to set in.
"I'll tell you anything," He pleaded. "Please just don't kill me."
"Just shut up for a second," the deeper voice demanded. "You got the tape recorder ready JD?"
"Yup, all set. Nobody will be able to tell that's our voices, thanks to the geniuses at Standish Corporation."
None of this made any sense to Gubliani. As the men were discussing amongst themselves, he wondered where his men were. He had ordered Tony and Sam to stay close and watch his back. Had they been killed? Not that it mattered; he would have done away with them himself eventually. They knew too much, they were now a liability.
"State your full name!"
Gubliani felt the gun shoved into his neck again.
"Joseph T, Gubliani," he whimpered.
"Let it be recorded that this is the trial of notorious crime boss, Joseph Gubliani," there was a slight pause, "the trial that he should have gotten. Mr. Gubliani, state how many murders you have committed for the court please."
"What? I haven't killed anyone!" He winced as he heard the safety click off the gun. "Alright, Alright, ten, I think, maybe eleven."
"Try fifteen," the voice growled.
:"Wow, I didn't realize that it was so many."
:"Tory Richardson, Mark Robertson, The Martin family, Sergeant Samantha Cory, Captain Roy Toimberso. Suzie Anton."
"She was just a prostitute. How did you find out about her?"
"A prostitute who was trying to support her twin daughters!" the second voice yelled.
"Alderman Troy Cotton and his family, and Father Patrick McGinnis," the first voice finished.
"I don't deny it," Gubliani realized that the only way he was going to keep his life was to listen to these men.
"It should also go on the record that he be accused of the attempted murder of Colorado Governor Robert Maki."
"What? Where did you hear about that? Nobody but I..." Gubliani cried.
"Since the United States Court has had the defendant in custody no less then three times and forced to file mistrials on all thee accounts, we have been forced to take drastic action.
"Who the hell are you?" Gubliani cried, squirming in his seat.
"We accept the defendant's statement confessing to the fifteen murders. We will now move on to the final charge regarding the assassination attempt."
"What you mean attempt?" Gubliani laughed. "The idiot drank the dioxin this morning. My man followed my instructions exactly."
"Then let it be noted that the defendant pleads guilty to the final charge as well."
"Wait, I didn't..." Gubliani stuttered realizing what he had just admitted.
"We will know move on the sentencing stage of this trial." The voice didn't give him a chance to explain.
"According to the laws of the Red Glove, the criminal is sentenced to death for his crimes."
"No! I didn't I'll give you money. I sweat that I will..."
A loud shot rang out and the man collapsed slung forward onto the steering wheel. A small drop of blood was oozing form his head.
JD sighed and turned off the tape recorder. He felt sick to his stomach.
"Shit," he whispered turning his head so he didn't' have to look at the body. He felt Evan's hand on his shoulder.
"You okay?" Evan asked.
JD nodded his head.
"Yeah, I guess. I still wish we didn't have to kill him."
"JD, if we would have let him live, he would have gone on to murder more people. He wouldn't have stopped. The court had three chances at him. They weren't going to do anything."
'I know," JD sighed. "I just wish there was an easier way. I wish we weren't the ones having to do the killing.
"I agree with you, but somebody has to do it. Someday there will be a time when they don't need the Red Glove." Evan tried to lighten the mood. " Hey you want to see the idea I came up with?"
JD watched as his friend took another pair of red gloves and slipped them on the hands of the corpse.
""Nice touch," he complimented.
"I thought so. Now that we want to gain attention, I think we've got to start leaving a trademark. Hand me the recorder."
JD handed him the recorder and Evan placed on the dashboard above where the man's head had landed.
"Alright, let's get going," JD said, looking around nervously. "Those bastards are going to realize that the phone call was a prank. They'll be coming back pretty soon."
Evan nodded his head and followed JD into the dark alley, where they disappeared into the night.
Mariah Conton shuddered when she saw the Mercedes still parked outside. The slender blond didn't know if she could handle another round with the crime boss that night. He had hit her pretty hard and she was still feeling it. She was about to walk away from the window when she saw two of Gubliani's men walking towards the car.
She watched as they withdrew from the car in horror, drawing their guns. They looked like they were searching the area for something. A few minutes later they were running away, looking like mutts with their tails between their legs. Wondering what had scared them so bad, the woman put on her bathrobe and slippers. Realizing that this wasn't the best of ideas, she stopped at the end of the stairs. Her curiosity got the better of her. She opened the door and walked towards the car, plastering a smile on her face. The smile quickly disappeared when she saw her client's body slung over the steering wheel, not moving. She screamed and ran inside the house to call the police.
+ + + + + + +
Chris Larabee pulled his black Ram alongside three flashing squad cars. He let out a huge yawn as he got out. The three AM phone call could sure make a man tired. A cold blast of air greeted him. He reached inside and grabbed his ATF jacket. Putting it on, he walked towards the yellow caution tape. The young cop on sentry duty waved him through when the badge was flashed in front of eyes.
'Agent Larabee," a deep voice greeted as soon as the FBI agent emerged onto the crime side of the tape.
"Mike," Chris acknowledged the tall, red haired cop. The two men shook hands.
"You want to tell me the reason I got a call from PD at three o clock in the morning? I don't appreciate having to drag my ass all the way back here."
'You beauty sleep can wait Chris. I know that you'd want to see this." Mike motioned for Chris to follow him. Chris realized that the cop was leading him towards a parked Mercedes.
"The rest of your guys showing up?" Mike asked. There were various cops walking around in and out of the crime scene looking in garbage cans and searching the ground.
Chris shook his head.
"We just got back from Washington DC around eleven o clock last night. We're all exhausted. Didn't see any reason to wake 'em up unless it was an emergency."
"Well, it's not an emergency, but I think you will find it interesting," Mike answered, motioning to the open car door.
"Can't be more interesting than the dreams I was having," he answered, taking a stop forward. As soon as he saw the body, he took a step backwards.
"Shit," he whispered. "Is that who I think it is?"
"The one and only," Mike answered. "His call girl called the murder in about an hour ago." He motioned to left where the woman was answering questions from an officer. Someone had given her a coat to wear.
"Did she see anything?' Chris asked, looking more closely at the body. It was a clean shot, straight to the back of the head. He doubted that the bastard had felt anything.
"Said she looked out the window after cleaning up a bit, and saw the car parked there. Two of his men showed up, but she guessed that he was already dead by the time they got there. We've got a team out looking for them now. "
"Techies get here yet?" Chris asked as he stuck his head farther into the car.
"Nope, but I can tell you who did it without any high tech equipment. Take a look at his hands."
Chris looked farther in and noticed the red gloves on the body's hands. He whistled appreciatively. He fought hard to hide the smile on his face.
"The Red Glove had been at it again," he said, pulling his head out of the car.
"They're getting gutsier. Now they want us to know it was them, before they wanted to hide it,' Mike said. "There's something else I want to show you. Todd, bring that recorder over here!"
A short stocky man walked over carrying the tape recorder. He handed it to Mike.
'Thanks," Mike said. "Listen to this Chris." He pushed the play button the recorder. The voice of Gubliani was loud and clear, but the two voices of the Red Glove members were distorted to the point of being unrecognizable. It was a new piece of technology that was showing up all over the criminal world. Users could pick and choose which voices they wanted distorted.
Chris felt his anger growing as he listened to the names of the victims and Gubliani's confession. The tape ended with the sound of the gunshot.
"Bastard!" Mike swore when the tape ended.
"The shooter or the victim?" Chris asked.
Mike lowered his voice so only Chris could hear him.
"Toimberso and I had our differences, but he was a good man. Sam Cory was my partner. That little lady had a great future in front of her, God Damnit, she was only twenty-six years old. The second she died in my arms two years ago, I swore that I would see the bastard that killed her rot behind bars. Three times, I had him within my reach. Three fucking times he got away from me!" Mike's voice was rising.
Chris put an arm on the man's shoulder.
"Easy Mike, don't create a scene."
Mike lowered his voice.
"I don't care what anyone else says Chris. I don't want these guys found. I want to give them a medal."
Chris fought the urge to say something similar. Mike Roberts was a good cop and a good man. He had no doubt that he could trust him with his secret, but now wasn't the time. Eventually, Mike and others like him would learn the truth, but they still had a long way to go.
"Mike, you could get fired for saying something like that. Get a hold of yourself."
"I'm beginning to wonder if I'm doing the right thing. Makes me think about giving up all together," Mike sighed and went to talk to the CSI team that has just arrived.
Chris watched him go. He looked down at the body and felt the ends of his lips curl into an evil smile.
"Way to go JD," he whispered. "Good riddance, you son of a bitch."
CHAPTER TWO: A Learning Experience
"Last night Joe Gubliani was murdered right here in this back alley behind the gentlemen's club. Police reports have released details that the Italian's body was found in his car with a bullet in the head."
Josiah watched the mounted TV as Mary Travis walked across the alley with a microphone in her hand.
"Although nothing has been confirmed, it believed that this is the work of the Red Glove. Apparently, they have become much more confident after the daring escape of their leader Liam Mason two months ago. I think it's easy to see that...."
Josiah noticed that people were starting to enter the classroom. He picked up the remote and turned the TV off. He relaxed in his chair and tried to ease the butterflies in his stomach. He had faced down some of the toughest criminals in the country. Why was he so nervous to teach twenty grad students for four days? Deciding he would much rather be in the interrogation room, he watched them take their seats in various spots across the room.
Marcus Sorkin had asked him to guest speak in his Interrogation Techniques class while he went home to Atlanta to take care of his sick father. Sorkin had thought his students would enjoy meeting the author of their textbook and Josiah would get the opportunity to teach the class. Josiah sighed. It had seemed like a good idea at the time. Now he wasn't so sure.
His directed his attention to a group of five young adults that had just walked through the door. Judging by their glances, Sorkin had told him that they would be having a guest speaker. His attention didn't dwell on them long. He busied himself with his newspaper so none of them could see the trickles of sweat dripping down his forehead.
As soon as the big black hand on the clock reached the six, he stood up and opened his mouth to speak. He didn't get the chance. The large steel door flew open and a young woman walked in with her head down.
"Sorry Sir," she mumbled, as she took her seat." Car problems."
"Car problems, my ass!"
The retort had come from a good looking kid in the back row.
He waited patiently as she pulled a binder and pencil out of her book bag, trying to hide the look of recognition in his eyes.
Sidney Marks had the right idea. Of course, it was bound to happen that somebody would realize that the two of them were acquainted, but there was no need to draw unneeded attention to the fact.
"Welcome," He greeted the class. "I trust that everyone has had a good week?"
There were several nodded heads and muffled responses.
"Judging by the looks on your faces, I can see that Martin had informed you about the change in teachers for the next few class periods," he said rather stiffly.
The kid sitting next to Sidney raised his hand.
"Sir, we were told that you were going to tell us some stories about your time in the FBI, about some of the integration and courtroom appearances you made."
Josiah smiled and felt himself starting to relax.
"I was planning on doing that next Wednesday. First, I want to see how some of you minds work. I have this video of an interrogation I did fifteen years ago on a street gang member when I was called down to Houston. He was accused of murdering four people. Watch the video and come up when your own conclusions. We will discuss your decisions at the end of the video."
He picked up the remote and turned on the movie, knowing that it would work. He had arrived twenty minutes early to set the whole thing up. In a few minutes, the all eyes were completely absorbed in the video. The only sound was the occasional scratch of a pencil. Josiah watched the video for a few minutes and awed at the younger version of himself. Had his beard really grayed that much?
Turning his attention away from the screen, he began scrutinizing the people sitting in front of him, forming his own early hypotheses about each of them. It was amazing how much you could tell about a person, just by the way they sat. Finally, his eyes fell on Sidney. She was writing furiously.
On the outside, she looked just like everybody else. True, she was an attractive girl, but there was nothing overly special about her, on the outside at least. Sidney Marks lived the life that most college kids dreamed about. She had a beautiful house to go to every night, delicious food whenever she pleased, and no worry about having to pay her mounting loans, thanks to her millionaire friend Ezra Standish. Standish was owner of the multimillion dollar technology company, Standish Corporation.
Her outward appearance also hid a cunning mind apt for violence and crime. In fact, he was almost certain that the real reason she was late had something to do with Mary Travis's newscast. Sidney Marks was one of the key figures in the notorious rebel group, the Red Glove
The Red Glove had formed to combat the injustices of the world, by getting rid of the evildoers that the criminal justice system was scared too. Sidney was joined by different kids across the city; one of them being JD Dunne. Dunne had also been taken in by Ezra Standish. After their rough lives, JD and Sidney couldn't have landed in a better spot. It turned out that Standish was running his own little vigilante organization. With the help of their doctor friend Nathan Jackson, Ezra and the others had started taking out bad guys. Soon Ezra and Nathan had adopted the Red Glove, by providing adult leadership and resources. The Red Glove began taking on more and more daring tasks.
One of their more risky jobs had been taking our Assistant District Attorney Cortez. It was on this particular mission that Josiah and his team had become acquainted with Ezra Standish and the Red Glove. Josiah would be the first to admit that he had been the most hesitant to accept the group. He had originally thought it had been too good to be true. He had searched long and hard for an interior motive to Standish's Robin Hooding, but had found none. Now he had never been so glad to put his foot in his mouth. Josiah knew that he was a lucky man. He not only worked with one of the best FBI teams in the country, he was now participating in an even greater cause.
He was so absorbed in his thoughts that he didn't' realize that the interview ended, until he heard a familiar voice.
"Now come on darling, you really don't need all those clothes on..."
Josiah picked up the remote and turned off the VCR. Damn Buck! He knew that his friend had been borrowing some of his tapes, his just didn't know for what.
"Alright," He said a little hesitantly. Everyone in the classroom had confused looks on their faces. He saw Sidney's amused look in the corner of his eye. "What are your educated opinions? How would you testify in a court if you were an expert witness?"
The young man that had commented on Sidney's entrance raised his hands.
"Tom Saunders, Sir. That jerk was lying between his teeth. I don't think he sat still for more than thirty seconds during that entire interview. He never once met your gaze. If a suspect can't meet his interrogator in the eye, then he's obviously got something to hide."
Josiah nodded his head in acknowledgement, working hard to show no facial expression. He watched as Tom leaned back in his seat confidently. This kid would be scooped up as soon as he graduated, and making millions testifying in court rooms across the country. He was good looking and articulate, a lawyer's dream come true.
"Does anyone else have a differing opinion?" he asked.
I have a different opinion Professor," Sidney answered.
"Of course she does," Tom snorted.
"Please explain Si...Miss?" He caught himself, before the slip up.
"Sidney Marks. May I ask you a few different questions Sir?"
Josiah nodded his head.
"How long was the suspect a member of a gang?"
I think he was taken in when he was about twelve years old."
"And he grew up in the ghetto right? That's the only life he ever knew?"
Josiah nodded his head.
'Then I would find the interview inconclusive. Kids on the street learn to follow a different code than the rest of us. To them, meeting someone in the eye is a sign of defiance, an invitation for a fight. My guess would be that the suspect was not meeting your eyes, because he did not want to appear intimidating to you. I stand by my assumption there was not enough evidence to say that he was guilty in that room."
"Just for kicks," Josiah answered. "If you had to testify, which side would you testify for?"
"Innocent until proven guilty," Sidney answered.
Again, Josiah kept his expression neutral.
"Two very well founded arguments. Would anybody else like to say anything?" Josiah was beginning to understand that there were two dominant personalities in this class.
"Alright, this is what ended up happening. Like Mr. Saunders, I testified that the suspect was guilty of the murders. I also based my conclusion on his actions during the interview. Three days later, he was found guilty and sentenced to death." He watched as Tom gave the woman next to him a high-five. Sidney lowered her head and busied herself with her notes.
"Three months after he died, A Texas A+M class found DNA evidence on the case. Turns our the crimes were committed by another man." He watched in satisfaction as Sidney's head shot up and Tom's jaw drop. "I can see that I have already gone over my time. We will continue to discuss this on Monday. Please follow the syllabus and read Chapter Twelve. Thank you for your time."
He watched as they all filed out of the classroom. Tom was whispering something in another man's ear on the way out the door. He kept his head down so he didn't have to meet Josiah's eye. Sidney was one of the last ones to file out.
"Ms. Marks, I would like a word," he said.
"Don't wait for me,' she told the two girls on her right. "I'll meet you in the library "
"May I ask you how you figured that out?" Josiah asked when they were the only two people left in the classroom.
"I got a sociology minor during my undergrad," She answered with a shrug on her shoulders. "I had a class about conflicting American cultures. I wrote my final paper on life in the streets."
"Did you know Sorkin has published books the same subject?"
"I had a couple of classes with him that semester. Somehow he found out what my paper was on and gave me a bunch of resources. I ended up doing three drafts of the paper."
"Sociology professors can be evil like that," Josiah agreed.
"I only did one draft before I turned it in. I ended up getting an A on it. Sorkin is the one that made me redo it three times."
"How was your first day of teaching?" she asked.
"It was a learning experience," he answered.
CHAPTER THREE: Dinner and a Movie
"Will you step on it Tanner! My belly is starting to get pissed at me."
"Yeah, I know. It's been making noises since we left the office," Vin grumbled.
"Come on, you're stomach's got to be crying out for those steaks too," Buck answered. "With all the money Ez has got, those steaks are going to be..."
Vin's jeep backfired, flinging the two men forward.
"Damn it Vin!" Buck cursed, rubbing his hand where it had smacked into the dashboard.
"Sorry about that Bucklin," Vin answered. "Now you see the reason I'm driving slow."
"Should have driven with the tortoise," Buck snorted. "I'm telling you Vin, if my steak is a second past medium rare, somebody's going to get it."
"I'll be sure to watch out," Vin answered rolling his eyes.
Ten minutes later, they pulled up alongside Chris's Ram.. The other agents were nowhere in sight.
"Well, that's just embarrassing," Buck snorted.
Vin was about to turn off the engine, but the Jeep decided to help him out. Before the agent even had his hand on the keys, the vehicle stopped running.
"Son of a bitch!" Vin swore, slamming his hand on the dashboard.
"Vin, I've said this before, but I told..."
"Say one word Buck, and I'm going to stick these keys somewhere where it ain't going too be to comfortable for you."
"You want to pop the hood and take a look inside?" Buck asked, unfastening his seatbelt and getting out of the car.
"Naw, I'll worry about it later. I can smell that meat already."
The two men followed their noses towards the beckoning smell. It led them to the back of the Standish mansion.
A large grill was flaming on the patio. Nathan was standing in front of it, dumping some kind of sauce onto the steaks. The spare drops caused the fire to sizzle. Josiah, lounging in a chair with a beer in his hand, was the first to acknowledge them.
Hey boys," Josiah greeted. "What took you so long?" He was rewarded with two hand gestures.
"Watch it," Nathan smiled. "Or you might not get your steaks."
How long has mine been on?" Buck asked anxiously.
'Just put it on the second I knew you were here," Nathan answered.
"How did you know we were here?" Vin asked.
Nathan and Josiah exchanged looks.
The entire country knew you were here," Nathan chuckled. "For a while I swore a bomb went off in the front yard."
Vin grumbled something undistinguishable as he walked over to cooler and grabbed a beer.
"Where did everybody go?" Buck asked, as he sat down next to Josiah.
"Chris and JD went down to look at a foul. Sidney and Ezra went on a run about a half an hour ago."
"That should be interesting," Buck mused with a smile. "Where's the mutt?"
"Why do you think I stopped going with the two of them?" Nathan answered. "Monty went with him. I figured he could keep the two of them from killing each other."
A loud bark echoed from the main trail.
"Speak of the devil,' he chuckled
Sidney sprinted through the backyard, the earphones from her IPod hanging from her shoulders. The German Shepard was right on her heels.
"Hey guys," she huffed, before dashing into the house, slamming the door behind her.
"This should be interesting," Nathan mused. His eyes were glued to the trail. A few minutes later, Ezra emerged from the head of the trail. Even from the distance, the awaiting men could tell the millionaire was sopping wet.
Ezra jogged up to the porch and stopped on the top step. Mud caked his clothes and his face. His hair was matted with little piece of green seaweed. Small puddles of water began accumulating from his dripping sweatpants.
'That little shit," Ezra growled, as he pulled off his sopping wet running shoes.
"Problems?" Josiah tried to hide the smile from his face.
"No, none at all," Ezra answered sarcastically. "I thought I'd just take an early spring dip in the sewage pond."
"What did she do?" Nathan asked.
'Our young partner was driving me insane, with her constant singing. I proposed a race. Knowing that she would take off, I was looking forward to my peace and quiet. Little did I know that she would be lurking behind a tree to scare me when I passed by the putrid pond."
"HA! I would have paid to see that!" Buck laughed. "You falling head over heels into the water."
"Excuse me, my dear Sir, I did not fall. It was more of a graceful leap."
"Yeah right! You tripped on that log and landed face first in the water. It was one of the best belly flops I've seen in a while." The voice came from an upstairs open window.
"Spit on her food for me will you?" Ezra asked Nathan. "I'm going to go inside and change." He grabbed a handful of pretzels from one of the bowls. Monty lifted his head up and whined quietly.
I do not think so my good sir," Ezra told the dog. "You could have warned me that she was hiding behind the tree, but you chose to keep quiet by her feet. To add to the disgrace, you did not even check to make sure your noble master was unharmed."
Monty turned his head to the side and continued to whine. Ezra sighed and dropped a few pretzels on the ground for the dog, before he disappeared inside the house.
"What was that all about?" Chris asked, as he walked up. JD followed him.
"Nothing," Nathan answered shaking his head.
The back door opened and Sidney remerged in a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt.
"What did you think?" she asked.
"You've got yourself a nice looking filly. Solid legs and intelligent eyes, I think she's going to be something special."
"We thought so too." JD nodded a greeting to Buck and Vin.
"What took you so long?" he asked.
"Don't even go there Kid," Buck answered.
About five minutes later, Ezra walked outside. There was no evidence reveling his spontaneous dip. Even though Ezra appeared to have forgotten the incident, Sidney remained a safe distance away from him.
"You guys can start eating," Nathan said. "Mine will just take a few more minutes."
"Nathan, you just put it on two minutes ago," Josiah stated is disbelief.
"One of Doctor Jackson's rare unhealthy indulgences is preparing his meat raw," Ezra explained. Nathan nodded his head in agreement.
Ezra walked to the side of the grill and started placing the slabs onto plates. His hand movements were shielded by the grill cover.
Finally Nathan's steak was done and they sat down at the large table and began to eat.
"Tell me about Maki's poisoning," Chris said after swallowing a bite of meat. "We've been trying to figure out what happened all day. Nobody at his office seems to know anything about it."
"They wouldn't," JD answered, "because Casey cleaned out the coffee cup the dioxin was put in before the office even opened up in the morning."
"You got past the governor's security?" Josiah asked.
"It wasn't that hard," JD answered. "All I needed to do was...."
"Spare us the details JD. None of us are going to have a clue what you are talking about," Sidney told him.
"How did you know what Gubliani was planning?" Buck asked.
"We've been following him around for weeks," Ezra explained. "Ever since your esteemed court system filed his third mistrial."
"I thought for sure we were going to have him that time," Vin answered. "I mean after he murdered two cops and all."
"Not with Judge Paxton presiding over the trials," Buck answered.
Four interested pairs of eyes immediately turned to him.
"Do know something about Judge Gareth Paxton that we do not?" Ezra asked, his eyes glittering.
"Shit Buck,' Chris sighed. "I thought we agreed we weren't going to tell them about that."
"Tell us about what?" Nathan asked.
"Damn,' Vin swore.
"Just tell us!" Sidney sighed exasperated.
"We think that he's been taking bribes from various crime lords across the state. That's why Denver's become a drug lord's paradise."
"But I thought the Governor was trying to pass tougher penalties for drug dealers," JD answered.
"Yeah, and look where that got him." Buck scoffed. "Poison in his morning coffee. You know what President Fitzgerald said. Laws aren't gong to do any good if people aren't going to support or enforce them."
"What I don't understand is why you were so disinclined to alert us about this fact," Ezra answered, taking a drink of his wine.
'Shit Ezra, we can't let the Red Glove do all our work," Vin answered. "We won't have jobs if guys bring down all the bad guys."
"Let us take care of this one," Chris said. "If we run into problems then we'll let the Red Glove decide what to do."
"It's a deal," Ezra stated. Ezra nodded his head in agreement.
"Sure," JD answered, but he did not look happy with the arrangement.
She had a range of emotions on her face.
"Sidney?" Ezra asked again, with a raised eyebrow.
"Could we maybe intimidate him just a little bit?" she asked sweetly.
She picked up her fork to take a bite of her steak. She swallowed and her face turned red. She started to breathe fast and her hands started shaking.
She quickly grabbed for her wine, and finished it one gulp.
'I need water!" she gasped, racing out of seat into the kitchen
"What was that about?" Nathan asked.
Ezra beamed evilly as he held up a small shaker of cyan pepper.
"She's not the only one around here that can take people by surprise."
"I swear you guys are worse than five year olds," Buck shook his head.
"Makes you wonder what I put on your meat doesn't it?" Ezra smiled innocently.
The fork made a loud clunking noise as it hit the plate. The look on Buck's face sent laughter across the table..
An hour later, the hosts and guests were lounging comfortably on the back porch. Most of them were eating up the final crumbs of their cherry pie. The rest had their attention on two small colts that were racing around one of the paddocks, trying to avoid the grooms that were trying to bring them in for the evening.
"My compliments to the chef," Chris stated, lounging back in the char.
"I will be sure to tell Marcy that you enjoyed her pie," Ezra stated. "I asked her to stay for dinner, but her grandchildren are spending the weekend with her and her husband."
"That woman is a saint,' JD answered "This house basically runs because of her."
Sidney glanced at her watch.
"Shit! JD if we want to make that movie we're going to have to hurry." She jumped out of her seat. JD did the same.
"Anyone want to come?" JD asked.
"What movie?" Ezra asked.
"V for Vendetta," Sidney answered, looking for her shoes.
"I should have known," Ezra stated.
'Would you mind if I tagged along?" Vin asked.
"Sure, let's go."
"Ezra, we're going to take the Caddy." Sidney called.
Before Ezra could offer a protest, the door slammed.
'I love how its never Sir, would you be so kind as to let us borrow the costly set of wheels that you so generously let us use?" Ezra sighed.
"Sir, would you be so kind as to..."
"Just get out of here JD," Ezra yelled at the open window.
+ + + + + + +
"How was the movie?" Nathan asked, lifting his head. The party had been moved into the living room due to the cold. It may have been spring, but the Colorado nights were still cool.
:"It was awesome," JD answered. "We were thinking that we could make a statement by..."
"Dear Lord JD. We will not be blowing up any historical government buildings," Ezra stated.
'It was worth a shot," JD shrugged.
Vin opened his mouth to speak, but Chris quickly interrupted him.
"I know, you are in the wrong kind of work right?" The agent laughed. Vin nodded his head and sat down on the couch next to his friend
"Reckon we'd best be heading home," Chris answered. "It's our turn for weekend duty."
"Shit Chris, couldn't you come up with an excuse to get us out of it?" Vin whined
"Like what?" he asked.
"I don't know, say we all got food poisoning or something,"
"I detest that," Ezra scoffed. "You will get nothing but the finest victuals at my humble abode."
"Geez Ezra, I've been living here for almost five years now, and I still don't know what you are talking about," Sidney answered, grabbing for his wine glass. "You've have enough to drink.
"Last time I checked my mother was on a cruise in the Rivera," He answered, easily taking the glass out of her reach.
"Ah yes," Sidney answered. "the lovely Maude Standish." She made no attempt to hide the look of disgust on her face. She stood up. "Think I'm going to get a little work done on my paper before I go to bed.
"Sidney, it's a Friday night!" Buck exclaimed.
"Don't criticize her for being a good student Bucklin; Just because you wait until the night before the report is due to actually right it."
"You ain't exactly Teacher's pet yourself Tanner," Buck answered.
"Good night," Sidney answered, as she walked up the steps.
They all chorused their good byes..
"Come on guys, it's time to go"
Oh shit!" Vin answered "My Jeep!"
"Don't worry, Junior. We got it fixed up for you." Buck told him.
"Shit, what did you do to it?"
'Nothing," Buck huffed. "Chris told me that he wouldn't give me a ride. I have to ride back with you.."
"Who says I'm going to give you a ride home?"
"Good night guys," Chris answered, pushing the two men out the door. "Let's go Josiah."
"Think I'll hang around for a while," Josiah answered, wanting to finish his conversation with Nathan. "Can you still give me a ride on your way to work?"
Nathan nodded his head. These late night shifts were starting to get old.
:"One benefit of being a teacher is getting your weekends off," Josiah answered, leaning back in his char. "Think I might have myself another beer."
'Bastard," Chris cursed, good naturedly "Thanks guys," he nodded to the other three men.
"It was our pleasure," Ezra answered.
As soon as the door closed, Josiah looked around the room.
"Does she really do homework?"
"Naw," JD answered. "She's upstairs talking to Liam."
"Why doesn't she just tell you then?"
;"Because she knows I would approve of the atrocious long distance bill I will have," Ezra answered, but the smile on his face proved that he didn't mind in the least.
CHAPTER FOUR: Unexpected Accusations
"For the tenth time Vin. We are not keeping that damn dog!" Chris growled. He looked down on the floor where his friend was sitting cross legged. A light brown nose rested on his knee.
The sound of Chris's roar caused the animal to start shaking. She tried to burry her head under Vin's leg
"Can't you see you're scaring her," Vin answered, lifting up the dog's head and stroking it. "Easy there little girl, nobody's going to hurt you. Most of the time ole Chris's bark is worse than his bite. What do reckon she is? I'm thinking a golden retriever."
"I don't care what she is Tanner. We're taking her down to the Humane Society this afternoon!" He watched as Vin continued to scratch the dog behind the ear. She wagged her tail and leaned against the sharpshooter.. "What if she belongs to somebody?"
"Hell Chris, look at her. Her fur's all matter down and she's scrawnier than Thomas's...."
"Don't go there," Chris warned, although amused
The door to the office opened and Buck walked in carrying a large paper bag.
"I've got lunch!" he yelled.
The dog cowered at the sound of the man's loud voice.
"Guessing she's been abused too," Vin answered. "Shut your trap Buck. You're scaring her."
Buck looked over the desk and saw Vin and the dog.
"Where'd the dog come from?" he asked.
. "Vin almost hit it on the way over here so he decided to play Mother Teresa," Chris answered.
"Hey there sweetheart," Buck told the dog. He set the bag down on Josiah's desk and lowered himself to his knees. He held out his hand. Hesitantly, she sniffed it and then wagged her tail.
"Jesus, she's skinny," he mused. "We should clean her up too. Poor things covered in fleas."
"We will do no such thing," Chris answered, but his response got no reaction from his teammates.
Vin reached up and grabbed a box of French fries from the bag. Seizing a handful, he began feeding the animal.
"Jeez Vin, you're already feeding our dog junk food."
"She's not our dog!" Chris exclaimed.
"What are we going to do with her Vin?" Buck asked. "Three of us can't have pets in our apartments. Hey Chris, maybe you could...."
"No, I already have to take care of your ornery old cuss you call a horse. I'm not taking a dog too."
"Fine, then I'll sneak her into my apartment," Vin answered. "I've done it before."
"Mike is a different story. He's only four inches long and lives in a bowl."
"You're point being?" Vin asked raising his eyebrows."
"Agent Larabee?" A static voice called from Chris's office.
With one more glare at Vin, Chris walked into his office.
He pushed the large white button on the black box.
"I've got somebody here from Standish Corporation, a Ms. Sidney Marks. She says that you talked to her employer about possibly purchasing a new surveillance system for the team."
"What?" Chris asked, caught off guard.
"I know you said that you didn't want to talk to anyone today. I'll tell her to make an appointment and come back another time."
"Wait, send her in Mill."
"But you said..."
I know what I said."
"You boys are tired; I don't think you should be worrying about things like that today."
"Alright, alright. Just don't complain to me when you get yourselves warn out."
"Thanks Mille," Chris said before ending the call. He shook his head. Mildred Getz was the sixty five year old secretary of the entire building. She also felt the need to play mother to them all. He walked back into the office where Vin and Buck were currently trying to clean some of the mud off the dog.
"Sidney's here," he stated.
"What's she doing here?" Buck asked, confused.
"Don't know, said something about a surveillance system."
There was a knock on the door. A person's frame could be made out through the tinted glass.
"Come on in," Chris called.
Sidney walked inside. She was wearing a tight fighting black business suit and heels. She tossed a folder next to the bag of food.
"Don't you look spiffy," Buck chuckled.
"Shut up," Sidney glared at him. "Ezra made me dress the part."
There was a small growl.
"I didn't know you had a dog," she stated.
"We don't," Chris answered quietly, but again the statement went unnoticed.
The dog eyed Sidney suspiciously, but she was soon wagging her tail when the woman bet down and scratched the dog's stomach.
"You're going to get dog hair all over those fancy clothes," Vin commented.
"Ezra said that if I was using the façade of his business, I needed to reflect the company's good standing."
"What does that mean?" Vin answered
"Hell, if I know."
"What are you doing here Sidney? I don't remember even talking about a surveillance technology."
:"You didn't, but I thought you might be interested in what I have to offer," Sidney said mysteriously. She stood up. "This kind of surveillance might prove beneficial in your case on Judge Paxton." She nudged her head in direction of the folder.
Chris walked over and picked it up. His eyes grew wide.
"Holy shit," he stated.
"Those are all his meetings with local crime bosses over the last two months. JD made the map is of his usual meeting places."
"This is almost a year's worth of work!" Buck stated, looking over Chris's shoulder.
"I know you told us to let you guys have him, but we kind of gave into the temptation. Don't worry, he has no idea we were tailing him."
"I knew hooking up with them was a good idea," Vin smiled. "It would have taken us at least a year to figure out his meeting pattern and spots."
Chris turned to look at her with raised eyebrows.
Sidney looked down at her feet.
"It was too tempting. I swear from here on out that I'll have the Red Glove stay away from Paxton."
"Right,' Chris answered sarcastically, but he was smiling. "Tell everyone thanks the next time you guys decide to discuss Canterbury Tales." Chris was referring to the Red Glove's guise as the British literature discussion group.
Sidney smiled back.
There was loud knock on the door. Chris frowned. Just because he had wanted to talk to one person did not mean that he had wanted Millie to let the whole city in. Before he had a chance to acknowledge the person at the door, it swung open.
A tall heavy-set man almost took up the entire doorway. Assistant Director Connor Thomas weighed at least two hundred and seventy five pounds and was a good few inches taller than Josiah. The buttons on jacket seemed about ready to burst.
"What the hell is this?" the man asked. "Who is she and what is that?" He pointed to Sidney and the dog.
Sidney quickly grabbed the file out of his Chris's hands.
"You agent was just telling me all about you Director Thomas. Please let me introduce myself. I'm Sidney Marks, a courier for Standish Corporation. This office expressed some interest in purchasing out new state of the art surveillance system. I can promise you that it is the best of its kind.'
"Get out now before I have somebody throw you out!" Thomas ordered.
"Yes sir," she answered quickly, before disappearing from the room.
"What the hell were you thinking? Making a purchase like that without my consent?"
"We weren't gong to buy anything," Chris growled. "We were just looking at it."
"Well next time I want to know when you are even thinking about buying anything, you hear me? Anything! Our office is short on funds and we need to cut back. You yahoos are almost driving us into the poorhouse,"
Chris fought the urge to punch the man. He kicked himself from stopping Vin from poking fun of his male organelles.
"Yes Sir," Chris answered. "What can we do for you?"
"Where the hell is Sanchez?"
'I gave him the day off Sir. He is teaching a class at the university for the week"
"Why was I not informed?"
"Last time I checked, the AD was not interested in an agent taking a few days off of work. He's taking a few personal days," Chris answered, not sure how much longer he could contain his temper.
The dog shared his sentiments. Her hair stood on end and her upper lip lifted in a snarl. A low menacing growl escaped from her vocal cords. The man took a step backwards.
Vin patted her on the head and distracted her with another French fry.
"What the fuck is a dog doing in my office?" Thomas yelled
"I believe she's eating a French fry Sir," Vin answered, innocently.
"Get that mutt out of here now!"
"We just declared it bring your pet to work day," Buck answered.
"There's no such thing," Thomas growled.
"Well, there is now," Buck answered.
"You're telling me that ugly beast is your dog?" Thomas asked, doubtfully.
"Yes," Chris answered without hesitation.
Vin and Buck exchanged quick surprised looks.
Thomas stared at the men... They had been nothing but a pain in his ass since he had taken Senator Travis's old job. How on earth did Travis tolerate these bastards. They were rouges, didn't adhere to any rules, but their own. The only thing that prevented him from firing their asses at that moment was their record. He would have the whole Bureau breathing down his neck if he fired the best agents on this side of the Mississippi.
He stared at the three defiant men in front of him. Each stood near the other's side, ready to provide backup if the need arose. Thomas had never seen that kind of loyalty. It made him sick to his stomach.
"Conference room now!" he ordered. He didn't wait, but sauntered into the room.
"Do we have to?" Vin asked.
"If you're good, maybe Chris will buy you an ice cream cone," Buck chuckled.
"I'll buy you a new freaking car if we end up getting out this meeting without putting the bastard in ICU." Chris answered.
"You want to shake on that?"
"Get you sorry asses in here now!"
The three men winced and slowly walked into the office.
"I got to get myself a teaching job," Buck shook his head. "Josiah, you're one lucky bastard."
Chris's lips twitched when he saw that Thomas was sitting in his usual chair. He chose the one farthest away from Thomas. Buck and Vin sat down on his sides.
"Well I will be honest with you Agent Larabee. With your record, I would have expected better results."
"May I ask about what?" Chris asked, clenching his fists on the table.
"You were put on the Red Glove case, because my superiors thought you were the best. Against my better judgment I might add."
"You had nothing to do with that," Vin hissed. "Travis put us on that case."
"Well, he's not here anymore, is he?" Thomas glared.
"You've had almost a year now to try and stop them, yet you've had very little success."
"Last time I checked, nobody else was having very much success either." Buck answered.
"Anyway, I have gotten your team a break,' Thomas's eye glittered. "We have just taken a man with connections to the Red Glove into custody."
The three men exchanged nervous glances.
"Who?" Vin asked.
"Marcus Sorkin," Thomas clarified.
"What," Chris asked, not really understanding. "The college professor? What the hell makes you think he has any connection to the Red Glove?'
"Come on Agent Larabee, you saw the newscast a few weeks ago. How else could he get information about the Red Glove? The fingerprints we found at the crime scene only prove the fact."
"I heard nothing about this," Chris growled, almost rising out of his seat.
"I am having the evidence reports sent over as we speak."
"I don't believe it," Buck stated. "Josiah is best friends with the man."
"Them maybe Agent Sanchez is hiding things we need to know about," Thomas glared at Buck.
"That's enough," Chris said, standing up. "I don't care who you are, but I will not let my agents be accused like this, Sir!'
"You will be flying down to Atlanta tomorrow morning where Sorkin is being held. You get a confession out of him, or you're fired!"
Thomas stood up and sauntered out of the room.
"I was this close to shooting him," Buck growled. "I would have too, if I had had my gun on me."
"What do you think is going on Chris? Vin asked
"I have no idea," Chris answered. "Get Josiah on the phone. I'm going to try and get a hold of Nathan and Ezra."
+ + + + + + +
"This is a load of bullshit!" Sidney swore, pacing back and forth in the Standish living room. Vin's dog whined near his feet when he heard the distress in her voice.
"Evan and I were the only ones at the murder," JD stated. "I don't know where these fingerprints came from."
"It was planted," Chris stated. "It's the only explanation."
"Why would they do that?" Sidney asked.
"The FBI has been looking for the Red Glove for a while now, and the only thing they have to show for it is an escaped criminal, who they can't find. I've been on the street ant talking to people. You guys are doing your job, people are starting to see things you're way. Not everyone thinks your terrorists anymore," Buck explained.
"But why frame Sorkin?" Nathan asked.
"He's one of the Red Glove's biggest supporters, and he's vocal about his feelings," Josiah answered. "He's also respected. When Marcus says something, people tend to listen. Men like Thomas are starting to feel threatened.."
"We've got to go down there and get him out," Sidney said. "There's no other choice. He's not going to spend it life in jail cause of us."
"Sidney, you can't go in there and break him out," Vin told her.
"That's what Thomas wants. The cops are bound to have some kind of trap set up to catch you guys if you make a mistake. If you manage to get him out, they will say that Sorkin was part of the Red Glove."
"We have to do something!" JD shouted..
"You won't be doing anything," Chris answered. 'We have to keep the Red Glove as far away from Sorkin as possible, for both of your sakes."
"I hate to admit it, but Chris has a point." Ezra stated. "But what will you do Chris? Thomas has stated that you will loose your jobs if you don't get a confession out of the professor."
Chris eyed Buck mischievously.
"We already have an idea, that will save Sorkin and our jobs," Buck explained.
Ezra nodded his head.
"When do you leave?" he asked.
"Tomorrow morning at seven," Chris answered.
"I do believe I will be joining you in Atlanta," Ezra stated.
"I will not be told what to do. My family still manages an estate not far from the city, and I do believe a little vacation time is in order. Besides, Nathan and I were discussing escaping from these hellions for a while."
"Hey," Sidney and JD chorused.
"We might be able to help," Nathan agreed.
"Fine," Chris answered. "We'd best go pack. Josiah, you coming or you going to teach?"
"I think its important that I make sure the students hear the facts," Josiah answered. "I have a feeling they may end up with a much distorted picture of what is going on."
"Mr. Sanchez, may I ask a huge favor of you?" Ezra asked.
"Make sure my house is still standing when I get back?"